The Tim Ferriss Show: Tracy DiNunzio on Rapid Growth and Rapid Learning

74 Comments

tracy dinunzio in chair

This single interview with Tracy DiNunzio, founder of Tradesy, was recorded in three short parts.  You can:



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Now, on to this episode’s guest…

Tracy DiNunzio is a killer. She’s the self-taught founder and CEO of Tradesy.com, which has taken off like a rocket ship. She’s raised $13 million from investors including Richard Branson, Kleiner Perkins, and yours truly, and board members include the legendary John Doerr. Tradesy is on a mission to make the resale value of anything you own available on demand. Their tagline is “cash in on your closet.”

Tracy is in the trenches 24/7, making it the perfect time to ask her… How has she created such high-velocity growth? How did she recruit the investors she did? What’s been her experience as a female founder? What are her biggest mistakes made and lessons learned? This multi-part series, fueled by wine, will answer all this and more.

Even if you have no desire to start your own company, this 3-part series will get you amped to do big things.

This episode touches on a lot of cool stuff. It’s a mini-MBA in entrepreneurship, hustle, and tactics.

Scroll below for all show notes.  Tons of amazing links and goodies…

Enjoy!

Who should I interview next?  Please let me know in the comments by clicking here.
Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave a short review here.  It keeps me going…
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Show Notes and Select Links from the Episode

  • Tracy DiNunzio’s unlikely resume
  • How her business model reflects her lifestyle, and why that’s intentional
  • How another startup (and her bootstrapping) helped her find her husband
  • The story of bootstrapping her first company, Recycled Bride, and how she traded skills for food
  • Why the current day is the best (and worst time) to start an online company
  • How she funded and launched Tradesy
  • Why she chose venture capital rather than continuing to bootstrap
  • The trade-offs — the cons — of venture capital
  • Common mistakes Tracy made when she began pitching to investors
  • How the rules of dating apply to pitching investors
  • The creative way she found her CTO and technical co-founder… on Craigslist
  • Addressing the pink elephant in the room — What’s her experience as a woman in the tech start-up world?
  • The “Hail, Mary” that kept Tradesy going before its upswing
  • What attracted iconic investors like Sir Richard Branson and John Doerr to Tradesy
  • How to spend 13 million dollars without blowing it
  • Numerous resources for would-be entrepreneurs
  • Tracy’s advice to anyone who is unhappy in their current career

LINKS FROM THE EPISODE

Books Mentioned in the Episode

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QUESTION OF THE DAY: What startup resources (books, articles, interviews) have you found most helpful or inspiring? Please share in the comments!

Posted on: September 30, 2014.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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74 comments on “The Tim Ferriss Show: Tracy DiNunzio on Rapid Growth and Rapid Learning

  1. Love hearing people talk about how they founded an organisation, approach creativity, problem solve, innovate or all those things. I`d really like to hear from people applying those qualities and mindsets to education.

    Like

  2. Really loved hearing decisions made from a founder regarding bootstrapping, why to take VC and how to do it (and not do it). That’s a bridge I’ll probably need to cross some day.

    As for who to have next, I’m going to propose a wild card: what if you interviewed the girl you were dating that inspired the 4HWW?

    2nd suggestion would be: founder of consumer products company, or subscription based – like Quarterly.

    Like

  3. Great job as always Tim! I cannot begin to explain how inspirational these things are for people that are trying to succeed through unconventional business models. The link to the mentoring getaway is broken. It just takes me to Shopify’s home page. Thank you for your efforts!

    Like

  4. Hi Tim! What an incredible interview. This and the one with Dan Carlin are my favorite so far. On another note, the link to the Richard Branson mentoring opportunity seems broken. It just redirects me to Shopify. Would love that link…. Naih, I need that link. Thanks!

    Like

  5. Another great interview Tim. As for who you should interview next…
    I’d love to hear you and Dave Asprey. You both hold a lot of sway in the diet/nutrition world, yet disagree on some fundamentals. It would be great to hear a good-spirited discussion of your different views, and the pros and cons of each diet/method.

    Keep up these awesome podcasts Tim! They’re so helpful.

    Like

  6. Best book on productivity and understanding addition (which effects you more than you think): Allen Carr ‘EasyWay to control alcohol’. Brilliant must read.

    Like

  7. Hi Tim. I’ve really been enjoying your podcasts, and its great to hear experts in their field talk about how they got to where they got to, all very inspirational. Mundane aspects of peoples lives are actually facinating when the person is interesting enough!

    A person I think would be great to interview is David Brailsford, head of British cycling. You can read about his achievments on Wikipedia (first two British winners of the Tour de France, most successful British cycling team ever), but what’s most interesting about him is his approach. Unlike pretty much any sports coach I can think of, he has an MBA, and he brings many management techniques to sport which seem to be the secret of his success. He’s a really interesting guy even if you don’t like cycling, and would fit with your “better than he should be” criteria.

    Like

  8. Cool I started the same organization for my local horse community. Now I am at the stage of starting a larger niche market. I am however struggling with finding the right partners and investors. Feels like a shark tank. Can’t wait to see where I’ll be a year from now as I now have Tracey’s road map to follow.

    Like

  9. Tim, what is your take on the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing?
    This isn’t the first time it is mentioned on your books.

    Like: Is it really better to be the first than it is to be better? I’m sorry but this sounds like aiming for poor products, could you correct me here?

    And What does it really mean being first on mind, instead of first on the market?

    Like

  10. I think we would benefit from and interview with Aubrey de Grey, based on your interview style and insights I would wager it would be an epic conversation.

    I would also like to listen to more “threesomes” where overlapping expertise can provide a bigger picture and more specific ideas. Maybe two chefs or a chef and a organic/biodynamic farmer. Chef Sean Brock of Husk and McCrady’s and Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills would be awesome!

    Like

  11. You would get a great deal of benefit speaking with branding expert, Glen Campbell. His personal branding methodology is world class. At a recent event with Seth Godin, Seth had very complimentary things to say about Glen’s approach. He usually does this personal branding process for CEO’s of 100MM+ companies. (He’s been CEO of those types of companies himself and has won major international advertising awards during his career).

    He’s also got the Bushido Cross (coveted Karate award here in Australia), making him a very interesting, committed man. Highly recommended. An underground expert whose insights and wisdom will amaze.

    Hit me up if you would like an intro🙂

    His views on branding, and especially personally branding, are not what you’d expect. In fact a lot of it is quite contrarian … and this is why you’ll like him … he helps people escape their perspective.

    Like

  12. Just finished the third installment of this episode on my way to work today. Great interview.

    It was very informative to hear what it takes to form a start-up and follow through with it as the idea and concepts change. I also don’t think that I want to do that.

    Do you have any plans on interviewing any solo entrepreneurs who are completely independent? I would like to hear how they formed their idea/muse, created their business, and how they sold their first project.

    All the best.

    Like

  13. I’d enjoy hearing you chat with Marcus Lem
    onis; specifically on how business owners can avoid being on his show, The Profit (great show, yet if a company makes an appearance it means it’s in big trouble).

    Like

  14. You should interview Scott Adams – his newest book “How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big” is quite relevant to the podcast, his blog posts are fascinating pieces of out-of-the-box thinking, and he is writing a screen-play for a new Dilbert movie (a topic you are interested in)

    Like

  15. I think robert greene would a great person to interview on your show. You both have amazing books and I think a conversation between you too would be very interesting.

    Like

  16. I am always left feeling so inspired and expanded after your email articles and links.
    I got so inspired to get busy sifting through my business idea list to decide
    On which business idea to create forth in action in the World, after reading about the Branson Island Mentorship Competition!
    Though I was disappointed that myself or my fellow Aruban – Dutch Nationals were not eligible
    For the prizes listed, I was hoping perhaps some consolation prize could be offered to those out here who compete and win(if compared to the topic 5 prize qualifying contenders).
    Perhaps being mentored by you, would be the height of awesomeness!
    Have a great week!
    Keep those inspiring articles coming!
    Warm regards,
    Giovanni
    Aruba

    Like

  17. Great episode I love the longer in-depth ones that have come out so far.

    As far as future guests I would love to hear a future Podcast with Joe DeFranco! The man is a beast and his story is amazing. A little older now but he had a documentary done called STRONG (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZilD_4pi7E) and I would love to see how he’s evolved since then and how training has changed.

    Like

  18. I’m really inspired to join the competition, and win. I’ve been needing the motivation, and being able to have you as a mentor even for a moment is more than enough Tim, keep being awesome!

    Like

  19. Love your work Tim!

    Suggestions for future interviews? Less of the self-made-riches types (because you’ve established that money alone doesn’t make for a happy, meaningful life right?) and more thinkers, philosophers, lifestyle-design advocates. These people, while less driven, are just more interesting.

    Like

  20. Excellent, in-depth interview Tim. Thanks again for this amazing service that you provide. If you get the chance, I would love to hear you interview Simon Sinek. He seems very smart and has a lot of valuable things to share.

    Like

  21. YES, I enjoy your interviews. I especially like the links you provide from the interview and the ability to read the transcript.
    Keep up your good work
    JAStC

    Like

  22. I like the longer format, but broken up as these were. I can make a half hour in the evening or driving, but 2 hours…… not so much. The longer talk gets the depth, which I enjoy, but a bite size piece. A slightly different guest idea for you….. someone from your lifestyle business idea that is not making 6 figures. Get the family guy or gal that is making a middle class jncome, and not traveling all over the world. Perhaps building habitat houses, or doing 3 months on, 3 off…. sorta like you used to have with some of the contests from 3 or 4 years ago. Your focus lately has been more macro, and larger ideas. Try smaller for a change of pace. Oh, and maybe a tad less wine at the end…. a bit of slurring detracts from the conversation. Glass of water between wine glasses works well….

    Like

  23. I’d love to hear an interview with Kristi Cooper of Pilates Anytime. I’m really curious about how she built her website and business.

    Like

  24. Hi Tim,
    I am an 18 year old college student at El Camino College and I am a huge fan. I have all three of your books and read them on the daily.
    In one of my classes I have an assignment, where I have to interview a person I consider successful and I thought ” Why not my biggest role model?”.
    So it would be great if you would allow me the honor to interview you for this assignment. I am open to any medium of communication(skype, phone call, email, facebook), whatever suits you best. Thank you for you consideration.
    from,
    Samuel Choi

    Like

  25. Hey Tim,

    I just wanted to say thank you for all the stuff you do and publish. I read your first two books (listening to the third –thanks for the free audiobook), listening to the podcast and enjoy reading the newsletter and your block.

    After stalking you:-), I have found two things which could be improve a little.
    First, I feel like it would be nice to have a glossary in the beginning of the books to look up abbreviation. Because it would make it easier to understand things I marked awhile ago.
    Second, I used to have an IPhone (before it got stolen:-() and I was able to listen to your Interviews via podcast. Now I have an Android Smartphone and I am very happy that I can still listen to your stuff but the App contains so much advertising….. Personally I would consider offering an Ad free Version for a few bucks.

    Kind regards from Germany,

    Like

  26. Another great and inspiring podcast. As Tim said, good to hear from someone currently in the thick of it.
    Tim, you were sounding pretty bevvied by the end there. I like to think that after this recording ended you started drunkenly cold-calling people and trying to record podcasts with them.
    Also, is there no list of resources for the Brendan Moynihan interview?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Tim – Love the show and wanted to thank you for putting together such compelling interviews and insights. I look forward every time you post a new show. One thought of constructive criticism, let the interviewee talk more and share more insights. I feel like sometime you hijack the conversation with what you want to say. Just a thought, regardless I’m a loyal listener and again thank you for putting the time in to produce this material. We are all very grateful to you.

    Like

    • Agree with Dave on the “hijack conversation” piece. You tend to rationalize/qualify your questions before you ask them.

      That being said, still the best podcast out there by far.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Hi Tim,

    This is a review for the Ramit Sethi podcast part 2. I know you haven’t posted on this already, but I wanted to leave a detailed comment somewhere while it was still fresh in my head. (I will provide an itunes review as well)

    Part 1:
    For this portion of the podcast, there was a lot of introduction to Ramit and what he does. A lot of Ramit’s answers were canned responses that I’ve heard from him in other podcasts and from following his material. I understand it’s important to introduce the audience to Ramit, but personally it wasn’t extremely valuable.

    Part 2:
    This is one of the most insightful podcasts I’ve ever heard. (With the added bonus of some humor – both you and Ramit had me cracking up) My favorite sequence was when you asked the question about best $100 investment and Ramit mentioned taking people out for coffee. This led into a discussion about networking and staying in touch with valuable people. The way that you detailed your relationship with Jack Canfield was so insightful and relevant to me. I network with people around Silicon Valley, but sometimes felt guilty for not “keeping in touch” on a regular basis because I was very busy. This commentary helped me remember that if these people have had good experiences with me in the past, they will remember me. I can point to several times where someone out of the blue has extended offers for job opportunities to me years down the line due to their good experiences with me.

    Most podcasts are just fluff and don’t really go into the exact tactics that lead to success, tracking it down to the root cause. This was an absolute golden nugget. One that will change your life. Perfect detail on tracking all the way back to the beginning of your relationship and how it led directly to a book deal that changed your life. I haven’t read 4 hour chef, but sounds like a perfect example of “Deconstruction” that you often mention. Perfect. This thoughtful deconstruction is a specialty that you have that I have not

    The sequence about Jack Canfield reminded me of the element of faith that is required to be successful in life & business that was highlighted by Conan O’Briend when he left the Tonight Show.

    “If you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
    – Conan

    p.s. apologies for any typos. Writing this quickly during a break at work and had some coffee

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Tim!
    So happy you interviewed Tracy. I love hearing from women because I feel like they’re under-represented in positions like hers. All of your podcasts have awesome people and awesome information- and it’s free! Her stories about bartering and trading inspired me to post my photography services on craigslist for trade and I already have a really awesome deal in the works!
    I haven’t had time to participate in the book club because I’m busy trying to come up with a muse, but I have been listening to all the audio books and they are equally valuable. Just wanted to share some ideas for future interviews even though I’m sure you already have a ton of great options. Ian Dunbar would have some amazing insights about dogs since that’s been a recent topic. Also the guy who started Go Pro- Nick Woodman. I’m sure has some great stories. And It would be really cool to hear from Steven Kotler about flow hacking!

    Like

  30. Great, great show, just love the content, highly engaging, am on the third listening, thanks so much for putting this out there. Just wish the click through for the purchases from the book club would hook me up with UK Amazon. Would be great if you could catch Kyle Maynard for a podcast

    Like

  31. Great episode, a bit dangerous though… I’ve downloaded it and went for a walk being super-happy abut my new “being airbnb host” experience, and then… when Tracy mentioned her “finance your startup in it’s early stage by renting the couch” strategy I almost choked to death laughing, ’cause I came to the same conclusion like 2 hours before starting to listen to the podcast :]

    Like

  32. Man! That was a really great podcast! I finished the first episode, and thought ” gee that was really good, too bad it was too short.” I must have missed it, when you mentioned it was in three parts! 本当に嬉しいな〜.

    Like

  33. Tim, another great Podcast. Also wanted to add it would be great if you pose the ‘what software do you use on a day to day basis’ to all interviewees. It was very helpful/interesting in the Ramit Sethi podcast. Already taken one of his answers and actioned it with Asana.

    Like

  34. This is my favorite interview to-date on 4HWW. You could write a book around this podcast. There’s complete transparency and open dialog here that reveals both the passion and determination that Traci Denunzio has on tap. For someone who has found her own way from there to here, the ideas, rationale and logic just seem to roll off the top off her mind. By all counts, she should have given up long ago. She’s the Shackleton of startups.

    A couple of funny take-aways for me:
    o “Evolved men” (I guess we can all aspire), and
    o “Mercy interview”. Denunzio’s description of a VC meeting. Funny.

    Like

  35. Hi Tim!
    I would like to listen to Douglas Price (Pro Sound Effects.come) in your show. It can be interesting for all who want to start a muse and learn more of entrepreneurship.

    Like

  36. At one point, talking about why more women don’t go into engineering, Tracy says that when you’re a teenage girl sitting in front of a computer hacking all day isn’t a way to gain popularity. It’s not a way to gain popularity for teenage boys either. It’s what they do if they’ve given up on popularity or didn’t care about it to begin with.

    Like

  37. People or types of people I would really like you to interview:

    -Top person in the new venture dept or founders of google.

    -2nd Interview with Sam Harris

    -Person in the cellular development world, how to determine what’s next and how does the business of competing drive innovation (galaxy vs. Iphone)

    -Kevin Rose again

    -Sara Armbruster – vice president of research, new business innovation at Steelcase

    Like

  38. Thanks Tim, most helpful and enjoyable,

    Real clarity on on bootstrapping and seed funding from the inside, very enlightening. The decision by the founder and the rational to use an incubator / accelerator, from both hindsight and from the coal face perspective was very helpful.

    The rest of the interview also very fun, enjoyable and educational too, so thanks again.

    Like

  39. Hi Tim,
    Kay Brothers Block 6 Shiraz. Awesome! McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek can be a very happy hunting ground. It’s like heading to Sonoma and stumbling across Alexander Valley, Dry Creek and Russian River except for a lot less people.

    Like

  40. Great eye opener to what it’s like to pitch VC’s and considering whether to go with a VC. I was recently approached about helping a commerce site monetize their assets and knowing about Tradesy was a helpful step in whether I should move forward. Thanks for including an interviewee that is so relatable. Though I love and listen to the other interviews as well.

    Like

  41. This is honestly one of the most inspiring podcasts I’ve listened to. Every magic ingredient from non-tech female founder (sorry the genitalia do matter a bit to me), bootstrapping, pitching to the very best VCs, Harlequin Romance/AirBNB, overcoming pretty challenging health shit, reprogramming the brain and oh hell fab fashion too. More more more please. Just sensational

    Like

  42. I’d love to hear about the habits and happenings of someone like Elon Musk but I know your Friend Stephen Key has a new book coming soon wouldn’t having him on make a great podcast as well as let him promote his new material?

    Like

  43. Hi Tim, in response to your comment on not caring about the genitalia of who you support (which I do appreciate), I hope I can make a compelling case for supporting women at the top:

    1. There are not as many female leaders in the world as male leaders (CEOs, senators, entrepreneurs, you name it.)

    2. Therefore, we are not tapping into a lot of the world’s potential, which is (for whatever reason) latent in these women who are not leaders.

    3. I am a woman who would like to be a leader.

    4. It’s far more inspiring for me to hear interviews like these with powerful women than with men because I can more easily imagine myself doing what these women have done. Regardless of sexism or inequality, I think we can all agree that it’s easier to feel inspired and capable when you can relate to your hero.

    5. So maybe with a little more light shed on those women who have “made it,” more women at the bottom–or in the middle–can be inspired to become leaders, and everyone can benefit from their skills and knowledge, which are still largely untapped.

    Thanks for listening. And thanks for a great podcast episode!

    Zoe

    Like